Ohio State University’s schools of medication and engineering have banded together with Siemens to make a brand new MRI machine that overcomes key restrictions of the current MRI machines. Their new plan opens up the utilization of the MRI to those with obesity, with implants, and other conditions that restrict the machine’s utilization.
Critical for accomplishing precise diagnoses, a Magnetic Resonance Imager (MRI) has several critical restrictions. For those with implants such as pacemakers, the MRI cannot be utilized. Currently, machines can’t see inside the lungs of a human, they expose patients – particularly repeat patients with chronic conditions – to critical measures of radiation. They’re costly to install and run, and for those in the highest echelons of the body mass index, they simply cannot fit into the opening.
The secret behind the design is lower reverberation level. MRIs commonly have magnetic field qualities of 1.5 or 3.0 Tesla, the Free.Max is however a lot lower at only 0.55 Tesla.
The 0.55 Tesla Magentom Free.Max tackles each of the five downsides to using the MRI, thanks to the work of Orlando Simonetti, a research director of cardiovascular magnetic reverberation at OSU, and Rizwan Ahmad, aid teacher of biomedical engineering. So far, the hurdles this new MRI has leapt over include:
Having a strength of 1.5 or 3.0, similar to the presently accessible MRI machines, means that they are costly to build, purchase, install, and operate.
This often prohibits the chance of having any MRI machines in the most outpatient facilities, and a few hospitals – particularly in lower income or rural regions. A report from 2018 saw that just 1% of rural Canadian hospitals even had an MRI machine.
A medical imaging organization quotes a price of a modern cutting edge high-powered MRI between $150,000 to $1 million, with a daily operating energy use of 10x the ordinary American family’s household’s energy consumption.
It significantly slashes down the amount of radiation exposure.
A strength of 1.5 or 3.0 means more prominent to take in radiation exposure, particularly for individuals who need to undergo repeated use.
Children with congenital heart disease frequently go through MRI-guided, X-ray heart catheterizations a few times in their lives, and with lower field strength of the Free.Max, this means that these kids, like patients with lung disease, aren’t overdosed with too much radiation.
It can now image the lungs.
Imaging lungs is commonly finished with or in conjunction with nuclear imaging or X-ray CT scans, dosing the patient in radiation.
“The air in the lungs cancels out the MRI signal at higher field strength; however, at lower field, there’s potential to see lung tissue more clearly with the MRI,” Simonetti told his university press. “We were looking for ways to improve the quality of images in these patients, and lower magnetic field strength could offer an advantage.”
This is going to be key for patients with cystic fibrosis pulmonary hypertension, covid-19, and even cardiovascular failure.
It can even image hearts with implants.
“Many of our patients have pacemakers or defibrillators and while many of those devices are now safe for MR scanning, the metal in them can distort the magnetic field and corrupt the image quality,” said Simonetti. “There’s no doubt in my mind that low-field MRI will play an important role in the future and will become more mainstream.”
These are all great improvements from the current MRIs that are used. However, there’s one more added bonus that the Free.Max brings, and it’s that it has the largest opening of any MRI machine (31 inches), expanding its utilization to include more obese patients.